It was a foregone conclusion that arguably the GOAT of women’s tennis, Serena Williams, would defeat No. 7 seed Angelique Kerber from Germany in the 2016 Australian Open Women’s Final. But just like her match versus Roberta Vinci of Italy at the 2015 U.S. Open, Serena lost to an opponent she previously dominated. This begs the question, is this the end of Serena’s reign as the queen of tennis?
From the 2014 U.S. Open to Wimbledon in 2015, Serena played arguably the best tennis of her career, winning her second Serena Slam (four consecutive Grand Slam championships) and was poised to win her first calendar Grand Slam if she won the 2015 U.S. Open Championship, a title she had won the previous three years. Serena lost in the semifinals, and again has come up short in her quest for her 22nd Grand Slam title. We could be witnessing the beginning of the end.
At 34 years old, Serena is still ranked No. 1 and will remain so as long as she doesn’t start losing matching in the first round of tournaments. But there is the quote we see all the time that “Father Time is undefeated.” We have seen the best in all sports fail as they age, from the man nicknamed “The Greatest,” Muhammad Ali in the 1980s and Michael Jordan playing for the Washington Wizards, to Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, who is even receiving sympathy from his haters for his poor play, and tennis great on the men’s side, Roger Federer, who has been stuck on Grand Slam title 17 since 2012 despite his #3 ranking.
Ultimately, I do think Williams will hoist another trophy up as a Grand Slam champion, bringing her total to 22 to tie Steffi Graf. But I did think that she would win the 2015 U.S. Open and 2016 Australian Open championships, and the top-ranked women’s player lost in matches in which she was a heavy favorite, so I could be wrong. The next Grand Slam tournament, the French Open, begins May 16.